Maxwell honor guard relies on units in order to focus on mission

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell Honor Guard is on the road most days of the year providing honors for fallen service members in the Southeast. During a four-month rotation, it is common for honor guard members to spend many Saturdays in service dress. With a small team of often-junior Airmen, this alone requires massive amounts of dedication. Add to that the number of promotion, retirement and change of command ceremonies on base and it is easy to see why the unit is always seeking volunteers.

Recently however, the Maxwell Honor Guard faced with a decision between supporting an on-base event or a funeral service stated they would be unable to continue support of events like promotions, retirements and special events; instead, the base would reach out offering unit personnel training to facilitate posting the colors at various events around base.

"We are looking for ways to partner with units to both reduce the Honor Guard footprint in their organization, sustain support for their events and continue to provide funeral honors to our fallen heroes," said Master Sgt. Danny J. Bradberry, Superintendent for Maxwell Honor Guard. "We will continue supporting base-wide community events, pending that they do not conflict with honors being provided for fallen military members."

The training of unit personnel assists in honor guard efforts to become more efficient in supporting the needs of almost all of Alabama and a few counties in Georgia.

"With increased unit support we can better serve the Maxwell community," said Airman 1st Class Lance Thornton, Air University computer programmer and honor guard member. "The honor guard members train the unit representatives to do everything that the base honor guard does; this will include how to fold the flag, all the facing movements, and the proper ceremonial way to do everything."

While trained unit personnel are staffing the smaller base events, the base honor guard will continue providing eligible veterans the military funeral honors required by law including those from the sister services in the area.

"Generally there are about four to 12 funerals a week," said Airman 1st Class Benjamin Smith, Air University finance office and honor guard member. "There is a feeling of humility knowing you are supporting a fallen military member."

The mission of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard is to represent Airmen to the American public and the world.

"I believe with honor guard capabilities it gives you a better chance for awards," said Thornton. "It's really a fulfilling duty and now more Maxwell Airmen have the opportunity to be a part of this team."

If there is uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of an event, the waiver authority is the 42nd Mission Support Group commander at 953-4204.